- July 20th, 2011
1. You know you're growing older when (admit it) you begin sympathizing with all those who have devoted their lives to upholding the status quo. And when, in spite of yourself, you begin thinking that your much-older boss possibly understands you more than you think.
2. Provided that people are relatively similar in inclination and background, it is understandable for one to expect that they will experience certain angst and learn particular lessons at similar times in their respective lives. And so a mistake one often makes is that one assumes that people of a certain level of intelligence all have a similar capability to understand certain things & situations the way one does. That a particular kind of sophistication of language, style, and taste assures one that all who share the foregoing belong to a single country, or fellowship. But the reality is that, in spite of our common humanity--goodness, yes--the reality we apprehend does not always come in a similarly understood version, or form. The concerns of one's age colors perception and interpretation. Our view is always limited, what is obvious to us, or will be to them, hopefully, in hindsight (the long view) is not always readily apparent in the short term.
3. Hindsight is powerful: This insight itself is something given only after many years of living through certain experiences, responsibilities, demands--mainly, the experience of having not less than one life depend completely on you; or being left with nothing of your own, having been given no choice but to give all else away. Or those times when one needs to make decisions without having the luxury of questioning and questioning and questioning one's motivations and intentions and the ethics of it all. Or living through extreme poverty and destitution, hunger and chronic sicknesses for which there is no cure, only management. One looks back never realizing what needed to be hurdled, had been hurdled, and that one had already won a prize for which one did not know s/he was yearning/striving for.
4. I had once promised myself that when I grew old/er, I would never, ever preach to the young. Being young comes with its own terrible aches and pains. But I guess one can still lament that which, from one's current standpoint, constitutes youthful folly: being simultaneously too quick in one's judgment of others, and too unsure of oneself; all rejection, too little acceptance. The propensity to seem, rather than be--and not out of kindness, or the need for social facilitation. To seek shallow moments of social connection, instead of struggle through real relationships with imperfect, complicated people who don't fit into your chosen narrative framework. To be a certain kind of young also means to be tempted not to live beyond the confines of one's skull. To think that all there is, is thought. To judge the world according to one's current categories of thought, without trying to understand the world as it is, and let it be, or even change your current thought categories. To be guilty for who one is, or wishes to be. To lie to oneself about what is true about the self--or, the many contradictory selves. To be unable to look at the self/selves without flinching. As though there was only one self, one way, one thing to be. As though the most important thing in the world is the self (that it is the only thing you can come closest to controlling absolutely in this world/be sure of being responsible for, does not make it the most important thing in one's life.) To desire the approval and acceptance and validation of this self above all other things. (This is all applicable to the nation, by the way.)
5. Which is not to say I have the advantage of the ultimate long-view here. Not at all; there are lessons I am learning that are different from yours. Your suffering is not my suffering, and whatever you will become as you become the age you never expected to be, will be informed by that suffering, and also the many joys you hopefully will be graced with.
6. And at that wonder-ful age, I hope the world (the real one, not the one in your head) will forgive, and treat you honestly, kindly.